Now you need to look at the wheels of your skateboard. There are dozens of different sizes, materials, shapes, and features of skateboard wheels, and it can get confusing for beginners. The most common type of wheel is a hard plastic wheel, and for beginners, you’ll usually see a “90a” level wheel. Professional skaters often choose even harder wheels, up to a 100a, because it gives them more “pop” for tricks. But somewhere between a 90a and a 97a is usually best for beginners.
What’s important to consider here is choosing the length based on your riding needs. You might be a street rider and love to do some tricks. You probably need a short board with a narrow profile. Whereas the longboard is only recommended if you are a professional skateboarded and love to cruise around the town and want to improve your balance and stability.
Here's some general guidelines to get you started: Narrower decks are lighter and easier to flip, but you’ll sacrifice some stability. Wider boards are more stable but are heavier and slightly less ideal for some tricks. Skaters who like flip tricks, manuals, ledges, and flat bars usually prefer boards on the narrower side of the spectrum (7.75 – 8.25 inches). Those who skate big bowls, hand rails, or like to jump down large gaps at high speeds are usually more comfortable with a larger board (8.25 – 9.0 inches).
When looking at skateboarding’s history, the only thing that’s stayed the same is the overall structure: every board consists of four skateboard wheels, two skateboard trucks, and a riding surface of some kind. And while we’ve come a long way from the days of metal and clay wheels, some aspects of skateboarding - like the brands manufacturing some of the most trusted products - haven’t changed at all. Independent Trucks has been designing trucks since 1978. Powell Peralta, the company responsible for Powell Skateboards, Bones Wheels, Bones Bearings, and the Bones Brigade also started in 1978. NHS, Inc., the company that produces Santa Cruz Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Bronson Speed Bearings, Krux trucks, Flip Skateboards, Ricta Wheels, Mob Grip, and OJ Wheels started in 1973. It’s no wonder these brands are still doing so well - they’ve been with skateboarding since the beginning. Since the day skateboarding went from something surfers did when the waves were flat to its own sport that involves technique, practice, and careful consideration, a small handful companies have been there to help skateboarding become what it is today.
If you are completely new to skateboarding, consider taking a minute to read through the Skateboard Decks Section in our Buyer’s Guide will be helpful, but a good rule of thumb is: the bigger your feet, the wider your board should be. If you wear a size 9 and up, you can’t go wrong with buying an 8” board. Narrow boards are easier to flip while wider boards are more stable, but there are no hard and fast rules to skateboarding. The only way to really find out what you like is by trying new shapes, sizes, and brands. Brands like Welcome, Baker, Chocolate, Deathwish, and Element all have a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and graphics.